Kids of all ages clean up Virginia Key Historic Beach

Kids of all ages clean up Virginia Key Historic Beach.

Photo Courtesy David Winker

This school year Virginia Key Outdoor Center (VKOC) will be providing kids an opportunity to observe and document nature on Virginia Key and Key Biscayne as part of the City Nature Challenge.

The City Nature Challenge is a worldwide biodiversity competition where people are encouraged to find and document nature in cities across the globe.

Cities compete to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people.

Volunteers take photos of plants, animals, insects and sea life and upload them to the iNaturalist app where they are catalogued.

Esther Alonso Luft, owner of VKOC, says Virginia Key and Key Biscayne provide ideal locations to teach kids to enjoy nature.

"By participating in the City Nature Challenge, not only do kids learn more about the nature all around us, but they can also make our community a better place - for us and other species,” she said.

In the 2019 challenge 536 participants in Miami helped make over 12,000 observations, identify close to 2000 species.

VKOC will be organizing a number of events throughout the school year with scientists, students, teachers, and other community members to lead tours on observing and documenting nature on Virginia Key and Key Biscayne.

They will include paddleboard and kayak tours, shoreline exploration, and hiking through the Virginia Key Bicycle Trails.

“It is an opportunity to learn more about where we live. From the smallest insect to the largest beast, life is all around us and waiting to be discovered," said Luft.

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For those interested in participating or learning more visit